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Archive for August 2014

Treat Your Vehicle to Good Tires at Folsom Autotech

Posted August 27, 2014 12:00 PM

When we shop for shoes, most of us know that we can get two pairs of cheap shoes or one good pair for about the same price. And since the two cheap pairs wear out in about the same time as the good pair, there really is no difference in cost. If you like having a closet full of shoes to match your moods and outfits, then cheap shoes can be what you want. But if you spend a lot of time on your feet, you probably know that cheap shoes can come with an added cost of sore feet and other foot ailments. When you add in the benefits of comfort and protection, the more expensive shoes are actually the better value.

Buying tires at Folsom Autotech in Folsom is a lot like buying shoes, except that Folsom vehicles don't have changeable apparel and don't need a closet full of tires to match. Vehicles spend a lot of time on their tires—all the time, in fact—so they need tires that can stand up to the job. Tires are work shoes: they have to deal with a lot of crazy California road conditions, all while carrying the weight of a vehicle and its passengers.

Bad tires, like cheap shoes, can also be a safety concern for Folsom drivers. Tires need good traction, and they need to be strong enough to handle the loads they carry. Vehicles that carry heavy loads or tow trailers around California need tires with a high load rating, in the same way that you are better off on a rough California mountain trail with sturdy hiking boots rather than flip-flops.

The best tires on the market are called Tier 1 tires. These are high-quality tires engineered to stand up to a lot of wear while maintaining good traction. They are also the most expensive tires on the market, although prices don't vary much from brand to brand.

Tire chain stores in Folsom often carry tires with their own brand name. These are private label tires. They are less expensive than Tier 1 tires but are still a quality product. In fact, many private label tires sold in the Folsom area are manufactured by the same companies that make Tier 1 tires. Don't hesitate to ask your Folsom Autotech tire professional who makes their private brand.

The cheapest tires on the California tire market are Tier 3 tires. Most of these tires are imported from Asia or South America, and they just don't have the same standard of engineering behind them that the higher-priced tires have. When it comes to Tier 3 tires, you get what you pay for.

At Folsom Autotech, we sometimes express tire quality in terms of the warranty. In other words, we call a tire a “40,000 mile/65,000 km tire,” or a "60,000 mile/100,000 km tire." This refers to the number of miles/kilometers a tire will be under warranty. Tires with a higher mileage warranty are made with higher quality rubber compounds and have more tread. As you might expect, they also cost more than tires with low mileage warranties.

Cheap tires often have no warranty at all. However, if you find yourself in a position where you need new tires and you're really strapped for cash, purchasing Tier 3 tires is better than waiting until you can afford Tier 1. It's always better to drive on new tires, even cheap ones, than driving on tires that are worn past their safety limits.

That said, if you're driving on Tier 3 tires, it's a good idea to budget and plan to buy higher-quality tires the next go-around. Two sets of cheap tires may wear out in the same time as one set of quality tires, but the quality tires actually cost less than two sets of cheap tires. That's the great fallacy of cheap tires. In the long run, they actually cost more than good tires and come with significantly reduced performance and durability to boot. Not exactly the best value for Folsom area drivers.

So, some good auto advice would be to always buy as much tire as you can afford. That way you'll get the most durability and performance and the most mileage out of every tire. Plus, with a better tire, there's some peace of mind that comes with knowing you won't have to purchase tires as often.

Good vehicle care requires checking your tires occasionally for tread wear and road damage. Practicing this preventive maintenance can help you avoid flats and blowouts.

Folsom Autotech
1126 A Sibley St
Folsom, California 95630
(916) 985-0274

 



A New Battery in Folsom

Posted August 26, 2014 12:00 PM

Hello Folsom drivers, let's talk about batteries. Car batteries are just like any rechargeable battery. They will eventually wear out and die. If you are shopping for a new battery in Folsom, here's some auto advice to help you.

There are two measurements to consider when purchasing a new battery: cold cranking amps and reserve capacity. The power required to start a cold engine is measured in cold cranking amps. The number you need is determined by what kind of vehicle you drive and where you live. In general, higher-cylinder engines require more cold cranking amps than lower-cylinder engines. In other words, an eight-cylinder engine needs more cold cranking amps than a six-cylinder one. Also, diesel engines require more cold cranking amps than gasoline engines.

The weather where you live in California also determines the number of cold cranking amps you need. The colder the vehicle engine, the more power it takes to get it started. Also, cold California weather reduces the electrical efficiency of the battery, which reduces the amount of energy available in the battery to start the engine. Thus, in freezing temperatures, you need more power to start an engine, but you have less power available to get it started.

Your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Folsom Autotech in Folsom can help you choose an appropriate battery for your vehicle and your lifestyle. If you need extra power owing to cold weather or a need for more reserve capacity, you may want to choose a heavy-duty battery. Just make sure it fits into your vehicle. An oversized battery may give you the power you need, but it's a serious safety hazard if the terminals come into contact with other parts of the vehicle.

Keep in mind that preventive maintenance performed at Folsom Autotech and good vehicle care can extend the life of your battery. Judicious use of electric gadgets and good driving habits are wise and can help you get the most out of your battery.

Folsom Autotech
1126 A Sibley St
Folsom, California 95630
(916) 985-0274



A Cold Day in Folsom ? Air Conditioning Service at Folsom Autotech

Posted August 19, 2014 12:00 PM


Most Folsom drivers worry about a breakdown or a tire blowout on a busy California highway, but don't worry too much about failure of their air conditioning system. A breakdown on the side of the road can be a miserable and dangerous affair during Folsom rush hour, but so can a long ride in a hot vehicle.

A lot of Folsom drivers judge their vehicles' air conditioning systems as “non-essential” and so may neglect them in favor of repairs and maintenance that keep the vehicle running. But preventive maintenance of an air conditioning system is simple and inexpensive, while auto a/c repair can be very expensive.

Folsom drivers should have the refrigerant in their air conditioning system checked regularly to ensure it is adequate and clean. Air conditioning systems often fail because air and water have contaminated the refrigerant. Air reduces the efficiency of the refrigerant, and water can cause rusting of the system's components. If your refrigerant is contaminated, the system should be evacuated and recharged. This will actually extend the life of your air conditioning system, preventing repairs, and keep it at peak performance.

At Folsom Autotech, we advise our Folsom customers to run their air conditioner periodically in the winter. This will keep the seals from drying out and cracking, saving them the inconvenience of this relatively minor repair.

Check with your vehicle owner's manual or with your friendly service advisor at Folsom Autotech for information about how often your vehicle air conditioning system should be serviced.

Folsom Autotech
1126 A Sibley St
Folsom, California 95630
(916) 985-0274



Coolant/Antifreeze Service at Folsom Autotech

Posted August 13, 2014 12:00 PM

Anyone who drives a car in Folsom knows that engines get hot when they run. But did you know that engines need to be cooled to keep running? Heat inside an engine can cause the metal parts to expand, which can seize up an engine and make it stop running. It can even ruin the entire engine! Good vehicle care requires keeping its cooling system in good condition.

A vehicle's cooling system circulates water and antifreeze (coolant) through the engine where it absorbs heat. It then flows to the radiator where the water and antifreeze are cooled by the air that flows over the radiator. Then it circulates back into the vehicle's engine to absorb more heat.

Why shouldn't Folsom auto owners just use water? Because water boils at temperatures that are often reached inside of an engine. Steam won't cool your vehicle engine and is hard to contain within the cooling system. The antifreeze keeps the water from boiling.

So why do we call it antifreeze? Shouldn't it be antiboil? Truth is, the antifreeze performs another critical task. Water freezes in cold California weather. That would spell disaster for your vehicle's engine. So antifreeze also keeps the water in your cooling system from freezing in all but the most extreme cold. Pretty neat stuff!

Taking care of your cooling system is part of good preventive maintenance for your vehicle. Folsom area drivers should check coolant level often and regularly inspect your cooling system for leaks.

That is just good auto advice. Your vehicle's manufacturer has maintenance requirements for draining and replacing engine coolant. Consult your owner's manual or ask your friendly and knowledgeable Folsom Autotech service advisor for these recommendations, as they vary widely among vehicles.


Folsom Autotech
1126 A Sibley St
Folsom, California 95630
(916) 985-0274



A Cool and Smooth Transmission in Folsom

Posted August 6, 2014 12:00 PM

When it comes to preventive maintenance on our vehicles, most of us Folsom drivers remember to get our oil changed. But services that occur at longer intervals — like transmission service — sometimes get overlooked. Yet transmission service is part of car care. A poorly maintained transmission will fail and lead to repairs.

The transmission transfers power from the engine to the drive wheels. When it's clean and well-lubricated, it gives maximum fuel efficiency. But when it gets dirty or worn down, your transmission will suffer. Your transmission relies on transmission fluid to keep everything running well.

This is why the transmission fluid must be changed periodically. Your owner's manual will give you a recommended time schedule for this service. Or, you can ask your friendly and knowledgeable Folsom Autotech service advisor. Generally, the interval is around 35,000 miles (55,000 km) or every two years. But the interval for your vehicle may be shorter or longer.

At Folsom Autotech in Folsom, transmission fluid can usually be changed while you wait and is simple and not particularly expensive. Compared to the cost of transmission repairs or a new transmission, it's downright cheap! So take some good auto advice from the team at Folsom Autotech and take care of your transmission. It will pay you back in a longer, smoother ride.

Folsom Autotech
1126 A Sibley St
Folsom, California 95630
(916) 985-0274



Easy Miles ? Do Folsom Driving Conditions Affect Service Intervals?

Posted August 5, 2014 12:00 PM

Have you ever noticed that your vehicle has a schedule in your owner's manual for what is called “severe service” maintenance? Let's define what severe driving conditions aren't: The easiest driving a vehicle experiences is traveling on the interstate for 20 miles (32 kilometers) or more at a constant rate of 65 miles per hour (105 kilometers per hour) in 75°F (24°C) weather with only passengers on board. Change any one of those parameters and you are adding stress to your engine. Change them significantly and you are driving under severe conditions.

Let's look at the parameters one a time. First, the length of the trip. Short trips around Folsom are harder on an engine than longer ones. As your engine cools down, water in the air condenses onto the engine. When you heat the engine again, the water evaporates off. This is healthy. But on short trips, the engine doesn't stay hot enough long enough for all of the water to evaporate. So it starts to build up in the engine oil leading to sludge, which can clog up your engine and lead to serious engine damage. If most or all of your trips around the Folsom area are less than four miles, you should be using the severe service maintenance schedule. Changing your oil more frequently at Folsom Autotech in Folsom will help prevent the formation of sludge.

Most of us Folsom drivers think of severe California weather conditions when we think of severe driving conditions. And we're right. Cold California weather takes its toll on the oil in your vehicle. Remember how water has to evaporate out of the oil to keep your engine healthy? It can take up to ten miles of driving for an engine to get hot enough to get rid of moisture in the oil when the weather is cold.

Hot Folsom weather is also bad for vehicles. When an engine runs, it gets hot. The longer it runs, the hotter it gets. If it gets too hot, it breaks down. So it has to be constantly cooled to keep running. Hot California weather means your cooling system has to work harder to keep your engine from getting too hot.

So, in the end, most of us Folsom auto owners drive under severe conditions some of the time. Smart Folsom residents will ask themselves the question: "Should I follow the severe service maintenance schedule?" An honest evaluation of our driving habits is the best way to determine which schedule to follow.

Folsom Autotech
1126 A Sibley St
Folsom, California 95630
(916) 985-0274

 



Straight and True in Folsom: Wheel Alignment

Posted August 5, 2014 12:00 PM

Most Folsom folks worry about running out of gas or having a breakdown on the side of the road. That is why we practice preventive maintenance on our vehicles — that and to keep our repair bills down. But one important part of preventive maintenance that may get overlooked by drivers in Folsom is a periodic alignment inspection.

Poor alignment causes tires to wear rapidly, unevenly or both. This means they will have to be replaced early, and new tires are more expensive than an alignment check in Folsom. Bad alignment can also cause damage to suspension and steering systems, which can be expensive to repair in Folsom.

Tire wear on misaligned wheels can also lead to blowouts, which are dangerous, can lead to serious accidents and can seriously damage your vehicle. Also, poor alignment itself can be the cause of an accident since the vehicle may not steer properly.

One or more wheels on your vehicle can be knocked out of alignment by running over a curb or a pothole on a bumpy Folsom street. An accident —  even a minor one — that involves a wheel on your car can lead to misalignment. The small bumps and bangs of everyday driving can also gradually put your wheels out of alignment.

If you have had wheel damage to your vehicle, or if you suspect that your wheels are out of alignment, you should get your alignment checked NOW. Any service center will give you that piece of auto advice. But good vehicle care suggests that you also get your alignment inspected on a regular basis. At Folsom Autotech in Folsom, we can take care of that for you.

Your owner's manual or Folsom Autotech can give you a suggestion on how often your alignment should be checked. If it doesn't, then once a year is a good rule of thumb. However, if you drive a lot — and especially if you drive on rough surfaces a lot — then you may want to consider alignment more often. Ask the pros at Folsom Autotech for a recommendation.

If your vehicle is out of alignment, one or more of the wheels is not tracking correctly and will “pull” against the others. Thus, one sign of poor alignment is that your vehicle pulls to one side when you drive around Folsom. Also, if you are driving a straight path and your steering wheel is off-center, that usually indicates an alignment problem.

Folsom drivers should also check the wear on their tires. If they seem to be wearing out too quickly, or if you notice that a tire is wearing on one side more than the other, you should get your alignment checked.

When you get an alignment inspection, your vehicle will be put on a rack and all the parts of the steering and suspension systems will be inspected for wear or damage. The alignment of the tires will be charted and compared to the original factory settings. If no repairs are needed on the steering or suspension systems, the wheels will then be adjusted to bring them back into alignment.

This may seem like a lot of bother for drivers, but it's a lot less trouble than a blowout or an accident. The old adage is good auto advice for all Folsom residents: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

So keep on driving, and keep all four tires on the road.

Folsom Autotech
1126 A Sibley St
Folsom, California 95630
(916) 985-0274

 



Maintaining Your Diesel in Folsom

Posted August 1, 2014 12:00 PM

Diesel engines have been used extensively in Europe and Asia for many years. They haven't been as common in the Folsom area because of the high sulfur content in our diesel fuel. But the government is now mandating lower sulfur content and, as a result, we are going to see more Folsom diesel-fueled vehicles on the road, especially in passenger cars and SUV's.

Diesels are popular in California because they get better fuel economy than gas-powered engines. They also last longer. Modern diesel engines are quiet and powerful. And if you associate diesel engines with black smoke, then you're not up with the times. That smoke is a thing of the past.

Diesels don't produce any more pollutants than gasoline engines. The pollution standards for diesel-powered vehicles are as strict in California as for other vehicles.

Also, diesel engines can run on bio-diesel fuels as well as fossil fuels. Diesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oil or from cellulosic waste like wood chips and sawdust. In California, we may soon see bio-diesel produced from algae. These fuel sources will lessen Folsom drivers dependence on fossil fuels and may even become truly renewable and sustainable.

Diesel-powered vehicles also perform as well as other passenger vehicles. Most people don't notice a difference in driving one or the other. If you haul heavy loads or tow a trailer around California, however, the diesel is a definite improvement.

So, you may be asking, if diesels are so great, why don't all Folsom people drive them? Surely there are disadvantages you haven't told me about. That's true. Diesel engines are heavier than gas engines, and they cost more in California. The better fuel economy of the diesel engine is partially offset by the higher purchase price.

Because of higher fuel prices, diesel engines used to be more expensive to drive in Folsom. But now, with higher volatility in the prices of both gasoline and diesel fuel in California, that cost difference is less definitive. Whether a diesel or gas engine is more expensive for California drivers depends now on the current price of fuel and how far you drive.

Consider also that diesel-powered vehicles have a high resale value in the Folsom area, and the costs of owning and operating a diesel vs. a gas-powered vehicle in California becomes a real toss-up.

Preventive auto maintenance for diesel vehicles has also become similar to that of gas-fueled vehicles in recent years. The major difference is that diesels require cleaner fuel, air and oil, so their filters are more expensive than those for gasoline engines. The engine air filter must be changed more frequently as well.

The costs for car care and repairs in Folsom are similar. You may be thinking, wait:  You just told me that filters are more and have to be changed more regularly. True, but that is offset by the fact that diesel engines have a much longer lifetime than gasoline engines. So if you are the type of owner who prefers to hang on to a vehicle for a long time, you will be more than rewarded with a diesel engine.

So if you have been looking for Folsom auto advice on whether to switch to a diesel vehicle or stay with a gas-powered one, then we hope this helps. The answer as to which type of vehicle is better is that it depends on the driver and their driving habits. Now that you know the facts, you can make an informed choice based on your own priorities and needs.

 Folsom Autotech
1126 A Sibley St
Folsom, California 95630
(916) 985-0274



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What our clients are saying about us

We have established longterm and stable partnerships with various clients thanks to our excellence in solving their automotive needs!

These mechanics fix your vehicle and stand behind their work. They bent over backwards to accommodate me and my schedule. They are located on an easily accessible corner with plenty of parking. The manager, Ron, and owner, Jim, were professional and courteous at all times with such great smiles and information as well as many years of experience and knowledge. A real find and I will continue to use them for my mechanical needs. quotes-image
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Folsom Autotech has been my go-to garage for over 15 years. I asked the guys I work with where they'd send their wife or daughter for car repairs and the resounding recommendations was Folsom Autotech. They were right, this is MY garage and I don't want or trust anyone else to work on our cars!quotes-image
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